Carlsbad Caverns, Billy the Kid and Pecans for Miles

April 1-7, 2019 — This first week of April found us exploring the great state of New Mexico. We have traveled through the state on the interstates twice before but never stopped to take in the sights. Wow is there a lot to see and do in New Mexico! The state is full of historic sites, national parks, monuments and forests, state parks, museums, mountains, waterfalls and rock formations. 

Even with spending a total of eleven busy days in the state we were only able to explore a few of the vast quantity of amazing places New Mexico has to offer. Highlighted below are a selection of the stops we made. We didn’t include all of the sights as there were just too many to post!

We love to travel and explore but going strong day after day is exhausting! Our preference is to do excursions no more than three or four days a week with the remaining time spent relaxing, trip planning, doing housekeeping/maintenance tasks, blogging, etc. Since we are on a time crunch with a plan to be in Minnesota by the beginning of May we aren’t able to travel on the ideal schedule while still taking in the sights. Our compromise is to do as much as we are comfortable with and take notes for the next time we visit the area. 

All nights this week were free stays with three nights at a Boondockers Welcome site, two nights at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) site, one night at a Walmart, and one night at a Harvest Hosts location. 

Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch, aka PistachioLand, in Alamogordo, New Mexico is home to the world’s largest pistachio. It’s also home to 13,000 pistachio trees and 6,000 grape vines. The farm offers daily tours of the orchard and vineyard, samples of various pistachio products and free tastings of their wines. What a fun and educational stop!

Blowing and drifting in New Mexico with lots of white covering the roads. What did we get ourselves into? No worries as we were at White Sands National Monument and the white stuff is gypsum sand. Whew! It really does look very much like snow.

Mesilla, New Mexico may be small but it is huge with history. The town is the site of boundary disputes between the United States and Mexico and was once known as “no man’s land”. During the American Civil War two battles were fought in Mesilla and the town once served as the capital of the Confederate Territory of Arizona. Even more famously, the town building pictured below is the former capitol of Arizona and  New Mexico which later served as a courthouse where Billy The Kid was tried and sentenced to hang. 

A drive on NM 28 southwest of Las Cruces, New Mexico takes you through miles of pecan orchards with some trees dating back to 1932. Over 45,000 acres of pecans are grown in the area with more trees being planted yearly. Imagine how beautiful these orchards are when the millions of trees are in full bloom. 

New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces recounts the state’s 3,000 year history of farming and ranching. It features indoor and outdoor exhibits of historic tools and implements, recreated structures and live animals including beef, dairy, sheep and goats. It’s a great educational stop for people of all ages. It also has free wine tasting in the gift shop for the adults to enjoy when they’re museumed out. 

Our home while in the Las Cruces, New Mexico area at a Boondockers Welcome host site. Thanks to our new friend Andy for a great stay. 

We only had time for a quick photo stop at Guadalupe Mountains National Park but do hope to return at some point to explore the park and hike a few trails. 

Carlsbad Caverns National Park near Carlsbad, New Mexico ranks at the top of the list of being the most unique place we’ve ever visited. The sheer size of the caverns is incredible. Even if you’re not into caves or geeky science/geology this place is still cool to see. The natural entrance is a 1.25 mile walk that descends 80 stories through a series of switchbacks to the caverns. It’s quite a workout so wear comfy shoes!

We took a drive through the Lincoln National Forest near Carlsbad, New Mexico and came across these beautiful water falls collectively named Sitting Bull Falls. The origin of the name is uncertain. 

Guess we didn’t need the sign to tell us free range cattle may be present along the road. 

Wow what a busy week! We are sooo looking forward to returning to New Mexico to see more of the amazing sights the state has to offer. Stay tuned for next week as we make our way to Texas and Oklahoma, befriend alpacas, live through an incredible wind storm and travel along a portion of historic Route 66. See you then!

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